Cinque Terre

It was only a few years ago when I first heard about Cinque Terre. All of a sudden, photos of the stunning tiny little villages were popping all over Instagram and Twitter and the idea to visit Cinque Terre landed on my travel bucket list.

A month ago, my family and I were vacationing in Italy. We spent a couple of days in Rome and in Florence, and our mission for the overall trip was to experience Italy without doing the touristy stuff. The plan was to visit nearby towns and cities and eat amazing food.

We visited 2 villages that make up Cinque Terre - Manarola and Vernazza. I recommend visiting Manarola - it's tiny but stunning. The houses perfectly sit on the hill and crystal waters were so inviting. We found a great lunch spot called Nessune Dorme, which had incredible views and food.

After Manarola, we were advised to visit Vernazza - the biggest village. While still pretty, you can tell this island had the most tourists. It was crowded and filled with gift shops. The water wasn't as welcoming either...But the history in this village was interesting. There is a church right by the water and photos are displayed throughout the village to tell the story of the 2011 flood that devastated residents.

Melissa Ariganello